The kulgeris (singular: kulgeri, adjectival kulgeric) are a brutish race of reptilian humanoids. They can survive quite happily in any environment: desert, tundra, jungle, swamp, plains, and forest. They're strong, tough, and straightforward. It's said that Traldiv the Dagger in the Night was responsible for their creation. Most kulgeris don't seem to care either way.
Kulgeris are ectothermic; they regulate their body temperature via environmental means. When they find themselves dangerously hot or cold, they'll nap in the sunlight or the shade, gather warmth from a fire, or take a dip in a cool stream. Kulgeris are covered in tough hide, thick scales, and beefy muscles. They have a tail that usually drags on the ground behind them, but it can deliver a brutal slap to opponent in a pinch. Kulgeris come of age at 10 and live about 80 or 90 years. Their skin molts every other year, so you may find one with big patches of dead scales they pick and scratch relentlessly.
Kulgeris are taller and heavier than most races. Females often grow to be larger than males, usually between 7′6ʺ and 8′6ʺ, males between 7′ and 8′. They weigh in excess of 300 pounds. Kulgeris are considered Size 1. Because of their hefty frames, kulgeris cannot ride most horses (but they could climb aboard bigger beasts).
The first thing you might notice about a kulgeri is the lack of clothing. You'd probably see one wearing armor, but in their downtime, kulgeris shun the concept of clothes. The first reason is their tolerance to temperature extremes. The second reason is kulgeris, being decidedly reptilian, have no external reproductive organs (nor mammary glands, for that matter), and since their cloaca is hidden beneath the tail, there is no reason for such modesty. That being said, kulgeris enjoy jewelry and such decorations, but their scaly hide is simply too thick for piercings. Additionally, kulgeris are known for body painting, especially before battle or adventuring.
Good descriptors of a common kulgeri: ruthless, cruel, and fierce. Many kulgeris are impatient and prefer to solve challenges with brute force and tenacity. They love a good fight, especially one with no holds barred. Kulgeris aren't opposed to negotiation and bargaining, but it's a tough job to talk one down from a conflict unless there's something to be gained. The concepts of friendship and romance are alien to the kulgeris, but they keenly understand loyalty and cooperation. A group of united kulgeris is frightening indeed. Kulgeris are usually arrogant, harsh, and blunt. They won't use three words when one will do. Additionally, most kulgeris are superstitious and wary of the unnatural.
Kulgeris can tolerate many different environments and they're known for their adaptable building skills. Clans of kulgeris set up villages and defensible forts made of brick and mortar, lumber, and to a small extent stonework. Their engineering skills pale in comparison to the evengar, but their structures are certainly solid. A lone kulgeri or a small group might be found living in caves for short periods, or using simple tents constructed from wood and animal hide. Kulgeris typically sleep on reed mats. They do use chairs, but craft them without backs to accommodate their large tails.
They are solely carnivorous and can eat raw meat right off the bone, but they certainly don't mind cooking it. The amount of bacteria swimming around in their mouths allow them to feed even on carrion without issue. There is no cultural taboo on eating the flesh of sentient creatures, even other kulgeris. Indeed, depending on the circumstances of a kulgeri's death, he might be eaten by his fellow clansmen, or left outdoors to rot. Kulgeris pretty much never hunt and kill people just to eat them, but hunger is a very powerful spice. As a result of their diet, bone is one of the most prevalent materials in kulgeric society.
Kulgeric society is universally a gynarchy; all clan leaders are women. Rule is usually passed via family lines, but formal challenges to rule do happen. Males do hold lesser positions of power. It varies from clan to clan the specifics of government, but most of the time, a chieftess employs no council of officers, and makes all decisions on her own.
Kulgeris will mate (often times violently), but do not marry. A mating female lays an egg which is guarded in a warmed place in the home. Incubation usually lasts about 100 days. A female may give birth to 2–5 total children in her lifetime, often times by different fathers. A kulgeri mother is fiercely protective of her young.
The kulgeris pay little to no attention to the Immortals nor to any other powers-that-be.
The spoken form of the Kulgeric language is both guttural and hissing. Its written form is a cuneiform script. Few outside the kulgeric race ever learn this language, and fewer still learn its system of writing.
Humans and kulgeris are sometimes business partners, as both work hard for the money, but usually humans are too emotional. Kulgeris are baffled by vidari (both love and art are highly confusing). They respect evengar for their formidable battle strength, but have great trouble understanding their concepts of glory and honor. Most find it easy to understand the apsaravan delight in life's pleasures, but passion is an enigma. Firnoy offer little to kulgeris aside from a snack, but they're reportedly too bitter. The shou actually make great partners, but are often opponents when competing for food sources. Most kulgeris are frustrated by maghashi reliance on diplomacy, but know to avoid the horns of one angered. They think jurens spend too much time thinking and wasting their massive strength.
The kulgeris are heavyweight die-hards at home in any climate. They excel where brute strength is needed: laborers, bodyguards, bouncers, and porters. Their ferocity makes them devastating hunters and mercenaries. The kulgeris' distance from the supernatural means that spellcasters are exceedingly rare.
Kulgeris tend to favor simple weapons: primarily spears and bludgeons. Their great strength and girth lend themselves to grabs and holds. A smack from their tail is just as powerful as any punch. In ranged combat, they prefer anything they can hurl with their bare hands. They're too big for nearly all breeds of horse, but rumors abound of the strange creatures kulgeris ride into battle: bears, rhinos, elephants, and giant reptiles.
Weapons designed to be held by a kulgeri are bigger than their human-sized counterparts, so they deal out more damage (see Appendix I: Size & Weapon Damage for differences between weapons for creatures of different Sizes.) In addition, weapons designed for smaller creatures are easier for kulgeris to wield (see Chapter 11: Equipment regarding weapon Muscle requirements).
What gets a kulgeri out of bed in the morning? Usually it's hunger, or a paycheck. Kulgeris leave home to seek out bragging rights: to be the strongest, the toughest, the meanest. A kulgeri adventurer usually just wants to line her pockets and increase her kill count. Kulgeris are known for holding grudges, and vengeance is a great motivator.
- Cold Blood: A kulgeri's ectothermy grants the ability to operate in extreme temperatures. They can resist hypothermia and hyperthermia much easier than weak, soft-skinned races. They receive a +8 to Stamina checks dealing with hot or cold temperature. The downside is that kulgeris suffer reduced mobility, taking −2 to Dodge, Dash, Gymnastics, and Thievery in such temperatures, but stave off that pesky Knockout.
- With Teeth: Kulgeris have sharp, pointy chompers. A bite attack causes 2 Harm, takes 3AP, and uses the Hand-to-hand skill.
- Germ Warfare: Kulgeris harbor extremely virulent bacteria in their mouths and digestive tracts. In addition to the obvious primary damage from a kulgeri bite, bite wounds without proper treatment will become horribly infected (treat as a Level 3 Disease with a Vitality DL of 14, as detailed in the Life and Death chapter). Victims could face gangrene, amputation, and even death (kulgeris themselves are immune to bacterial infection from a kulgeri bite).
- Tip the Scales: The hide of a kulgeri sports tough scales, granting an innate +2 to Guard.
Societal Powers: Choose one of the following.
- Wily – Kulgeris are pretty accomplished tacticians and they don't mince words. They receive a +2 bonus to Discern.
- Maritime – More than any other sentient race, kulgeris are at home in the water. Those from the coasts and river lands learn to employ their tail while swimming, and they receive a +2 bonus to Might and Dash to do so.
- Iron Gut – Kulgeris eat all kinds of meat in varying stages of decay. They're known to have cast iron stomachs. They receive a +2 bonus to Vitality to avoid nausea and food-borne disease.